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Seedfolks Paperback – December 14, 2004

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Editorial Reviews Review

Sometimes, even in the middle of ugliness and neglect, a little bit of beauty will bloom. Award-winning writer Paul Fleischman dazzles us with this truth in Seedfolks--a slim novel that bursts with hope. Wasting not a single word, Fleischman unfolds a story of a blighted neighborhood transformed when a young girl plants a few lima beans in an abandoned lot. Slowly, one by one, neighbors are touched and stirred to action as they see tendrils poke through the dirt. Hispanics, Haitians, Koreans, young, and old begin to turn the littered lot into a garden for the whole community. A gift for hearts of all ages, this gentle, timeless story will delight anyone in need of a sprig of inspiration. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 Up. As a vacant lot is transformed into a community garden, these vignettes give glimpses into the lives of the fledgling gardeners. As satisfying as harvesting produce straight from the vine.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 70 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTrophy (December 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590511904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064472074
  • ASIN: 0064472078
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on November 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Paul Fleischman's novel "Seedfolks" is only 69 pages long, but the author packs a lot of emotional power into this story. "Seedfolks" takes place in a troubled urban neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. The story begins when a young Vietnamese-American girl starts a small vegetable garden in a plot of land in a neglected, garbage-filled lot. From this small start, a project begins which transforms the neighborhood.
This is a moving story which presents multi-cultural urban life in both its negative and positive aspects. Each chapter is told in the first person by a different member of the community. Thus, by the end of the book we have heard a great diversity of voices: male and female, of many age groups, and of many different ethnic backgrounds.
I was really impressed with this book, and recommend it to both younger readers and adults. For an interesting companion text to "Seedfolks," try "O Pioneers!", the classic novel by Willa Cather.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A. Luciano VINE VOICE on May 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
It all started with one little girl. Kim's father died before she was even born, and she is afraid that he might not know her as he looks down from heaven. So she decides to do something to make him recognize her and to make him proud. He was a farmer back in Vietnam, so she takes a handful of bean seeds to a trash-covered vacant lot near her inner-city apartment and plants them. When he looks down and sees them, he will know she is his daughter.

Someone looks down from a window and is intrigued by this girl who keeps visiting the vacant lot in secret. Upon investigation she sees what is going on and decides to clear a little patch of land for a tiny garden of her own. Others observe and like the idea, and soon the vacant lot is covered with a patchwork of gardens from all sorts of people living nearby. Someone is able to bully the city into moving the trash off of this land. People who usually avoid eye contact at all cost are suddenly meeting neighbors and relating to one another. Through this garden project, a neighborhood of strangers becomes a real community.

I liked the characters in this story. They were all very vivid and their stories were well thought out. I also liked being able to see the different perspectives on this garden, and the different reasons people decided to plant things here.

I didn't like that each person's story was just dropped after it was told. I wanted the author to go back and write what the people were thinking. What did Kim think when her garden idea caught on? Was Sam able to stop the segregation he saw developing in the garden? I wanted some followup to each story.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This masterfully cast and rendered audio version of Fleischman's gorgeous vignette-novel features 13 different performers of various ages and ethnicities. The fact that some of the readers are not professional performers gives the voices a ring of authenticity that is often missing from the "act-y" delivery of many audiobook readers (which I often find distancing). You are captivated by the natural, sincere delivery of these performers, who portray characters ranging from a very young Vietnamese girl to a Guatemalan man to an old, feisty Eastern European woman. The performances of the professional actors are so honest and convincing --particularly the Mexican teenager, young African-American man and the cowboy-like school janitor-- that they blend in seamlessly with the other voices. The story unfolds slowly, piece by piece, and by the very first chapter, you'll be hooked-- not only by Fleischman's wonderful writing, but by the musicality and vitality of each character's unique voice. A real treasure and high-quality product for all ages.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Johannes on January 11, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The diversity of the world is represented by the very real and honest characters who live near the vacant, trash-filled lot that soon becomes a mecca of collaboration, peace, and beauty in this novel. There are 13 chapters to this book, each narrated in the first person by a different character who somehow finds some answer to his/her life's needs through the transformation of a simple garden. You will appreciate the honesty of each character, from the son who sees his father become a greedy liar to the man who understands that sometimes we are responsible for our own segregation. You will love seeing the emotional growth in a Korean woman who is recouperating from a life of tragedy, and your heart will be touched by Curtis who is trying to make amends for his past decisions. What is most impressive is that Fleischman is able to tell this delightful tale in such a way that the reader feels as if they're in on a secret--as if we know how the lives of the characters connect in a way that they do not understand themselves. If you like this clever novel, you will also enjoy Paul Fleischman's Whirligig, which has a similar affect on the reader. I recommend this book to young readers (6th grade+) as well as adults.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Louis Stefano on April 3, 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
I loved Seed Folks. I finished the book in one afternoon, but thought about it for days after. In the year since I've read the book I've purchased 14 copies for friends who I thought would appreciate its message of community and optimism. In these times when we always check to make sure our doors are locked before going to bed at night, Seed Folks offers a message of hope. The characters are believable and the story is engaging - the kind of story one would wish to make a reality.
Fleischman writes the book from the perspective of 11 characters, each the voice of his or her own chapter. It was an interesting way to present the story and served to give readers any number of connections to the text.
I am a 6th grade teacher. I developed a lesson from the book and read it to my students using the voices of fellow teachers to speak for characters in the book. I will continue to give Seed Folks as gifts to friends, as well as teach that lesson to every one of my classes. Seed Folks is a book I wish I had written myself. My hat is off to Paul Fleischman.
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